The Politics of Software

An interesting interview with Richard Stallman is posted at GSMBOX. I tried to find an adequate piece to excerpt, but the interview is a translation (from what I don’t know) and too awkward to cut up. But the ideas are there.

Expecially noteworthy is Stallman’s sense of ethical parsimony. Rather than seeing the solution to one ethical problem as the necessary solution to all similar problems, Stallman explicitly disavows the application of his GPL to books and music. Each case, he says, has to be weighed on its own merits, what the work is trying to do and how it might be used.

ALso interesting, although the interveiwer doesn’t follow up, is Stallman’s observation that, although he is a liberal and the ideas behind Free Software come from the Left, many of its advocates come from the Right. I’m not a big believer in the explaining ability of “right” and “left” as political labels, so it would have been interesting to examine a little more closely how Free Software cuts across opposed sets of political and social beliefs.

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